Kiera and Israel make up the fashion photography duo known as Hot Thunderstorm Studio. The pair have been wanting to produce a photoshoot like this for some time. Aware of the strong aesthetic of L’Officiel Hommes, they reached out to see if they were interested in collaborating.
We draw our inspiration primarily from films, and for this particular shoot, we were aiming for something with a Fight Club vibe.
Kiera and Israel sent a mood board to L’Officiel Hommes stylist Charlie Ward, and upon approval, started scouting for locations and models. Kiera and Israel’s studio (at the time) and its surrounding areas were ideal for the look they were going for.
[Our studio was] located in a very industrial area, with a lot of truck repair, scrap yard, energy plant, that had a unique charm in the grit and grease.
To tell the story, Kiera and Israel split the photoshoot between studio and location.
We decided to divide the story between on-location scenarios, to help visually place the character, and studio shots that enabled us to create an extreme contrast look that emphasized musculature.
We wanted to tap into a palpable electricity and communicate a kind of reckless energy combined with a sense of physicality.
Everyone was feeding off of each other’s energy, throwing out ideas. The model, Calvin, was great as well. The character we were trying to create came naturally for him which was an essential part of making it happen.
The dynamic between Israel and Kiera is a seamless give and take. Israel says that although they have very similar tastes, one of their greatest strengths is the difference in their perspectives. Kiera adds:
Our polarity in approach is something that we bring to every project. We also do a lot of role switching, even within the same shoot — swapping between shooting and directing, or being in a more idea headspace and paying attention to technical precision.
We both are very hands-on, and we do a little bit of everything. Working as a team allows us to tackle bigger projects and maintain cohesion, especially when working with both still and moving images.Israel
Their symbiotic working relationship is due in part to being attuned to each other in the moment, but they also don’t underestimate the importance of pre-production.
We tend to discuss ideas at length until we ultimately create an understanding which provides a structure we can be flexible within during the shoot.Kiera
I think that aspect of our dynamic pushes both of us to give our best and think outside of our own perspective while simultaneously being able to be supportive and problem-solve quickly and creatively.
See more of Hot Thunderstorm Studio’s images on their Instagram.